Scotland has some of the most attractive and inspiring places in the world:
from the mountains and glens of the Highlands to small villages peppered across the country and great cities containing vibrant cultural quarters and stunning neighbourhoods. But many of these places will have been shaped, protected or improved through town planners with ambitions to create great places for people.
Next year will be the centenary of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), 100 years of planners working to improve the quality of life in our cities, towns and villages across the world. The institute's centenary provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the planning profession and to share successes with an audience beyond Scotland. Thanks to the Scottish Government and planning consultants Barton Willmore, we are asking people and organisations across Scotland to identify the places that are special to them, which have been cherished or improved by planners, planning and the planning system. Planning has long been one of Scotland's best kept secrets. The first President of the RTPI, Thomas Adams, was a Scot. His plans helped make New York the city it is today. His son was hugely influential in shaping the American planning profession.
Patrick Geddes, born and educated in Scotland, was hugely influential across the world, planning the centre of Tel Aviv and influencing planning in India. But back to Scotland today: we can hope that this initiative will also go some way to help people realise the important and positive role that planning has played in shaping Scotland over the last 100 years.
We are looking for people and organisations to put forward their ideas on their favourite places that have been built, enhanced or protected by planners and the planning system in Scotland since 1914. We want to hear about those places that have had positive and sustainable impacts socially, environmentally and economically; that show best practice in planning; that have benefited from the role played by planners and the planning system; and that are seen as nationally significant and important to Scotland.
These could range from one of Scotland's national parks which have been established to protect our most important landscapes and to support the communities that live there; or one of our five new towns that have grown from humble beginnings to provide homes for around 250,000 people. It could be a regeneration area that has reinvigorated a town or and city and made them attractive places to work, live and enjoy. You could put forward a neighbourhood that has been protected because it is in a Conservation Area or a new cultural quarter of a city that has been promoted as great investment. Whatever your choice, there will, no doubt, be a wide range of examples that you will be able to think of.
You can nominate your favourite place at ww.rtpi.org.uk/scotlandsbestplaces . The deadline for submissions is February 10, 2014. All proposals will be examined by a special advisory panel whose members will agree on the top 10, which will be announced in March. This panel comprises people with a range of interests and backgrounds including the arts, business, building conservation, architecture and communities. There will then be an online public vote to identify the three best places in Scotland. these will be unveiled at a reception in June.
The initiative is supported by Derek Mackay MSP, Minister for Local Government and Planning, who neatly summed up the project when saying "I am delighted to support this initiative. "
The planning system has already helped to create many great places for people across Scotland and I am keen to ensure that it continues to provide high quality development in the future. Scotland's Best Places can help to showcase the good work that has been done already and stimulate a new generation of inspirational places across Scotland."
Let the debate begin!
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